As their names are suggesting, analog and digital multimeters are differentiated by technology matters. In analog there,s a pointer with parameter scales, where pointer deflection during test tells about readings. On other hand digital multimeters have digital lcd displays, they give results in numbers. Digital meters also have some extra functions than analog ones. For diy enthusiasts and hobbyists digital meters would be a more helpful option, likewise some professionals and engineers like analog multimeter’s robustness and old school features.
The analog multimeter is actually an improved form of galvanometers. Analog meters we see today were invented by British citizen Donald Macadie who was an engineer in the post office. First ever digital multimeters were arrived in the early 1970,s in market. They solved many problems, as they are a combination of a number of meters like ohm meter, voltmeter, amp meter, temperature meter, capacitance meter and a going on list.
We’ll discuss the differences between both types of multimeters by comparing them by features and functionalities they have. We’ll check which one can perform better in quality than other so you may easily conclude that which one can solve your issues more efficiently.
Analog Vs Digital Multimeters Comparison
In terms of durability, we are forced to give more marks to analog than digital. They are really very rough tough tools that may last for years on your workbench. You’ll also admit it to visualize some old school type analog meters somewhere owned by some older and experienced electricians who were still in working condition and accurate. Digital multimeters have a relatively lower life period excepting some expensive supreme quality multimeters like fluke. Except for fluke and some good brands, we didn’t notice any digital multimeter brand which can meet analog meter’s life tenure.
When we compare them in terms of general functionalities with normal range we reached this result that analog meters are less expensive than digital multimeters. But we get a lot more functions in little more price than analog. If you are going with a number of features and ranges then digital would be your first priority. In common an ordinary analog meter with comparatively fewer parameters range like 300v ac/dc, 100 or 150 milli amps dc, 500k ohm, continuity, and diode testing will cost you about 15 to 20 bucks. But that will actually doesn’t make sense to buy a meter with no ac amps, frequency, and capacitance functions which you can get in digital meters by paying some extra amount.
In short, we can say that some digital multimeters will cost you less when we compare them to analog multimeters with more features and high ranges. Now it,s up to you which type of multimeter will you prefer for your work.
As analog meters come with needle based reading so it may be confusing for some newbies to finalize actual reading. Besides this, they have a stable and durable mechanism for finding accurate results. They also have some visual errors due to poor quality of mirrors like parallax errors.
Category one digital multimeters give pin point results in numbers on lcds. But for this, you have to avoid some low quality multimeters due to their poor accuracy.
Analog multimeters are calibrated manually every time before taking a test, but digital meters have an edge of auto calibration before every test. So again in that case analog meters need some skills and experience to operate them.
Analog multimeters range has to be set manually every time. For newbies using an analog multimeter could be more difficult than digital ones. On another side, most digital multimeters come with auto ranging features, whereas some dmm also has the option of both manual and auto range to provide usage flexibility.
We think power supply is the biggest perk in analog meters, as they don’t need any type of power source to operate. While in digital multimeters it needs alkalaline batteries or power cord supplies to energize them.
Modern analog multimeters are comparatively lesser in size than Dmm,s. However, some analog meters are also bulkier in size. In digital multimeters there,s a good variety of some small size pocket multimeters. On average digital meters are larger in size than analogs.
Digital multimeters give readings in numeric figures by their digital lcd displays in a comfortable manner that even a student can read it wisely. Unfortunately for reading analog multimeters, you should first have some know how about their reading scales and pointer deflection.
Analog meters suffer less by distortions or any type of noise in electric circuits. But that’s not the case with digital ones. That’s why some digital meter brands have some distortion preventing features like low impedance mode(loz).
Digital multimeters cover a wide range of parameters other than basic ones. In general analog multimeters, you may get voltage, low resistance range, and dc milli amps functions. While in their digital companions there is a huge variety like capacitance, duty cycles, frequency, temperature, and even rpm and alternator testing in some automotive multimeters.
Leo Maxwell is basically an Electrical engineer and hobby tech writer, having 13 years of experience in the electronics and instrumentation industry. He has hands on experience working in various fields like Powerhouses, solar, automotive, and FMCG.
During his career, he has used many power tools and meters in electrical projects. Now his aim is to explain tools and troubleshooting in easy guides to help people. Other then it, leo loves traveling, reading books and DIY tasks.